After a long day of counting and failure to declare anyone over the quota threshold in West Tyrone, bi-linguists at the counting centre in Omagh have been told to stop counting in their preferred language as it was causing confusion amongst other counters and onlookers.
Reporters at the Omagh Leisure Complex confirmed that several counters complained about an Irish language expert, Liam Ó Maoilriain, who maintains he can only count out loud. On three occasions several men in the complex all called Cathaoir shouted ‘what’ when Ó Maoilriain reached a ceathair (4), causing other counters to lose concentration and start all over again.
Additionally, Ó Maoilriain claims are no words in the Irish language for the number 1690 which caused serious confusion amongst the official compilers. Two candidates finished on 1690 votes but were given a question mark by Ó Maoilriain who headed off for a pint in Sally’s as soon as he handed his sheet in. With officials unable to find an explanation for the punctuation mark, there was another recount.
Counter Mary Johnston fumed:
“This Ó Maoilriain fellow is a handlin. He thought the whole Cathaoir thing was hilarious and I know he was louder when saying a ceathair compared to other words. He shouldn’t be counting out loud anyway. And he was drunk for the evening’s count and was just guessing how many votes there were by the size of the pile.”
Reports suggest Ó Maoilriain is counting in English today but is purposely going slower, in protest. At 10:30, after 30 minutes of counting, he was only on 6, having taken 7 toilet breaks.
Meanwhile, in an effort to raise flagging spirits, Barry McElduff has set up a spin-the-bottle corner in the complex. Already there have been complaints that McElduff has sabotaged the game as the bottle has continuously stopped at his party members Dillon and O’Neill who have been dared to kiss Barry on the cheek each time.